December 26th, 2008
06:55 PM ET
6 years ago

Bush loses book race for third straight year, says Rove

Rove bested Bush’s book total for a third straight year.
Rove bested Bush’s book total for a third straight year.

(CNN) - He wasn’t on the ballot this year, but President Bush still lost – to Karl Rove.

For the third consecutive year, Rove has bested Bush in their annual reading contest, the former presidential advisor writes in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The president's reading list this year was weighted towards historical chronicles of conflict, from David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter" and Rick Atkinson's "Day of Battle" to Stephen W. Sears's "Gettysburg" and James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief."

It also included President Grant's "Personal Memoirs," Jon Meacham's "American Lion," James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief" and Jacobo Timerman's "Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number."

The contest began when Rove made a New Year’s resolution to finish a book a week in 2006. “The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages - its ‘Total Lateral Area,’” writes Rove.

“At year's end, I defeated the president, 110 books to 95. My trophy looks suspiciously like those given out at junior bowling finals. The president lamely insisted he'd lost because he'd been busy as Leader of the Free World.”

That year’s contest drew headlines over the lengthy list of Bush's books, which reportedly Andrew Roberts’s "History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900," Nathaniel Philbrick’s "Mayflower," and Albert Camus’s "The Stranger," according to Rove.

Bush’s total has dropped each year, says his former advisor: from 95 books in 2006, to 51 in 2007, to just 40 in 2008, with less than a week to go until the end of the year.


Filed under: Karl Rove • Popular Posts • President Bush
soundoff (287 Responses)
  1. Glenn in California

    Is it true that Rove is in the process of reading "My Pet Goat" to Bush?

    December 26, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Jim in Asheville

    David Goldman- Speaking of "rudimentary English," I hope you are not a teacher of American students.

    December 26, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. chuck

    I CERTAINLY THINK GEORGE BUSH KNOWS TO READ THIS. RASTA GIVE ME SOME DRUGS TO BUILD A HEAD.I NEED TO RELAX AND BYE THE WAY YOU COULD INJECT SOME IN ME NOW. RASTA FAR I.HOW YO JAM MIN SO.

    December 26, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    It is not surprising since Bush can't read. The fact that he has a contest to acknowledge it is no surprise because he IS the dumbest US president ever.

    DUH!

    December 26, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. A race to the bottom

    @Bufuddled.Dont forget to take your meds.If you dont get it by now,you never will.

    December 26, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Sam

    Since when reading books makes headline news? oh wait, it's Bush.

    December 26, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    THEN WHY DOES HE TALK THE WAY HE DOES?

    HE TRANSPOSES WORDS, MAKES UP WORDS. . .

    WHAT THE HELL IS STRATEGERY?

    December 26, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Bernie

    CRAWFORD, TEXAS - A tragic fire on Sunday destroyed the personal library of President George W. Bush. Both of his books have been lost.
    A presidential spokesman said the president was devastated, as he had not finished coloring the second one.

    December 26, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  9. BB

    Did he ever finish My Pet Goat?

    December 26, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  10. Sarah Palin/David Duke 2012!!!

    I'm glad Bush has time to read. Poor President Obama won't have any time to read since he has to inherit this mess that Bush gave him! But then again... Bush had time to also vacation when people were floating in the streets of Lousiana during Hurricane Katrina so I'm not surprised.

    December 26, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. John

    Most of the comments above confirm the fact that "condescending liberal" is a redundant term...

    December 26, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  12. Madison, WI

    You cannot boast of reading an entire book if you only read the first and last pages of said book ...

    December 26, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  13. Mark Lukas

    That explains a lot. I guess they were both too busy "reading" to deal with this nations problems. Good strategy: bury your head in a book as Rome burns. Morons.

    December 26, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. Sam the Record Man

    bush likes to read alot about war. he probably has fantasies of being a hero "stratergist". You are no where NEAR any of the great military leaders of our history. You are nothing but a human zit that has popped and made our world disgusting and now we have to clean up. Dont hold your breath for your legacy to change in the future in the eyes of historians, you are and always will be a buffoon.

    December 26, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. joe

    who would publish either, both are engineers of a failed America, but in America anything sells

    December 26, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. Right Trash

    Why do these 2 (Bush & Rove) continue with this annual joke? Initially, I thought it was a Rovian move to try to convince the public that Bush was, in fact, not semi-retarded. But now that Bush is hours away from leaving, this is just sad.

    December 26, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. JJ, Illinois

    As a substitute teacher I thought I read a lot of books in a year, 25, and the President of the United States read 95 books while overseeing two wars and a financial crisis. It must be the three years of vacation time he had taken over the last 8 years.

    December 26, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. blue proctor

    He can read above an 6th grade level?

    December 26, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  19. Effluvius

    I wonder if Bush ever finished 'My Pet Goat'?

    December 26, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  20. james

    It's just astonishing that someone who reads that much still sounds like a totally illiterate, unintelligent buffoon. I still don't know how this guy got accepted to Yale and Harvard. They must have certainly lowered their standards for this son of an influential alumni.

    December 26, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  21. norma wilkinson

    As an avid reader myself, and having listened to George Bush speak for the last eight years, frankly, I would doubt that he read any books at all.

    December 26, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  22. Palin with a Whip is Better Than Bush

    My God, he can read who would have thunk it

    December 26, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  23. Joe in Dallas

    "Total Lateral Area"? In that case, Shrub should have won. Children's books and other books at his reading level are usually tall and wide, with large typefaces. One "Pet Goat" probably has more TLA than "War and Peace".

    December 26, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  24. Griff

    What's changed in the Sudan..... What is happening in the Congo!!!!
    When will Somalia invade Kenya.,.... What has change in Iran???
    "The Mess".... Obama was supposed to be Change.... The Black's are the Biggest losers..... All my Toto's in Africa will pay: for the Blacks mistake in America..... Slaves!!!!! American Slaves???? Enough!!!!!
    Black America......

    December 26, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  25. Alan

    Anyone who beleives that that imbecile has finished 1 book in the last 8 years is delerious. It's unlikely that America's greatest living natural disaster is indeed not totally illiterate! Lets's see, He managed to bankrupt the country, start 2 endless wars and facilitated Bin Laden's goal of destroying the financial system. Hmmmmm..... You be the judge!

    December 26, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
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